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  • Talli-ho! The hunt for Planet X (or a neighbourig black hole?) is afoot!

    Home Forums Outside the box Fun Stuff Talli-ho! The hunt for Planet X (or a neighbourig black hole?) is afoot!

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      • #2354812
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Some more recent (*) News of the Weird:

        Percival Lowell, back in the late 19th century, built the Lowell Observatory with a very large telescope in Flagstaff, Arizona and thought, among other interesting things, hat he was seeing the huge canals built by Martians, that have been described by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, still alive and very advanced technologically in their drying up planet, to carry water to their fields and cities from the icy poles.
        This was long-suspected to be an optical illusion and was shown to be so when the first NASA probes took close pictures of Mars, showing it to look more like the Moon, with no canals anywhere, to the general disappointment.

        https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20210216-the-massive-planet-scientists-cant-find

        The last years of his life were dedicated to finding a new and very distant huge planet in the Solar System: “Planet X”, then thought to be the reason for odd anomalies in the orbits of the farthest from the Sun then known: Uranus and Neptune.
        Years later, another astronomer discovered Pluto using the same telescope at Lowell. But Pluto was soon known to be too small to explain the orbits of the two outer planets. In his will (and much contested by his widow), Lowell left an endowment for a $1,000,00 prize to be given to whoever found Planet X.
        The search has continued to this day, and the likeliest candidate now is some massive object responsible for the unusually elongated orbits of a number of objects, including several recently discovered dwarf planets beyond Pluto, and several other smaller objects mostly made of ice, in the distant region of the Solar System known as the Kuiper belt, beyond which lies, at the fringes of the system, the Oort Cloud and then interstellar space.

        According to the BBC’s article, there are several possible ways a massive object might lurk in a region of space too large to observe with much chance of success and too dim to see, as it would get hundreds of thousands of times less sunlight than we do on Earth. But there is some promise of a more successful future search when a new kind of telescope becomes operational in the near future.

        One idea is that it might be a giant planet, about ten times more massive than our own, perhaps “stolen” from another star that got too close to the Sun.

        Not mentioned in the article, but I believe it is also a possible explanation, is that it used to be one of the zillions of dark planets kicked out of their own star systems by gravitational interactions with other planets there, and then supposed to wander alone, endlessly through space, until this one got too close to the Sun and was snared by its gravitational pull while either still as far as it might be today, or else when much closer and then got moved outwards by gravitational interactions with Jupiter and the other big planets beyond it.

        But there are other, even stranger ideas afoot, according to the BBC article:

        Some other plausible replacements for planet nine include a small ball of ultra-concentrated dark matter, or a primordial black hole. As black holes are among the most dense objects in the Universe, Unwin [one of the astronomers occupied in this newest search for Plane X] explains that it’s entirely possible the latter could be warping the orbits of distant objects in the outer solar system.

        So far, suggestions include looking for the gamma rays that are emitted by objects as they fall into black holes, or releasing a constellation of hundreds of tiny spacecraft, which might – if we’re lucky – pass close enough so that they’d be pulled towards it ever-so-fractionally, and accelerate by a detectable amount.

        Since the mysterious gravitational pull is emanating from the farthest reaches of our solar system, the probes would have to be sent via an Earthbound laser array, which could propel them to 20% of the speed of light. If they travelled any slower, they might take hundreds of years to arrive – an experiment that would, naturally, stretch well beyond a human lifetime

        As it happens, these futuristic spacecraft are already being developed for another ambitious mission, the “Breakthrough Starshot” project, which aims to send them to the Alpha Centauri star system, 4.37 light-years away.

        So, is this weird enough for you?

        (*) “News of the Weird” used to be (and I believe still is, in some form) a syndicated column that run in some newspapers with unusual real-life stories of unlikely events that happened mostly to unlikely people.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • This topic was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by OscarCP.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2354819
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        Very interesting and not too weird, sounds good to me.  20% of light speed is much better than the ~35,000 mph that rockets do with gravitational assists from planets.  I was so hoping that one of the planetary missions (Voyager, Juno, Cassini) would have found a stable wormhole in the vicinity of Jupiter or Saturn.  That may have provided a ray of hope for humanity finding the planet(s) it needs to survive.

        I really think this is what we should be doing instead of digging around in asteroids and comets for the origins of life.  Even if we do find evidence that there once was life on Mars millions or billions of years ago, what good does that really do us?

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Charlie.
        • #2354826
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Charlie: “Even if we do find evidence that there once was life on Mars millions or billions of years ago, what good does that really do us?

          If we found in some other world, or even in an itsy bitsy comet, just in the Solar System, the unshakable evidence of life of any kind at any time there, now or long ago, and of a life that definitely started outside our own home planet, that will turn some very old and always lively philosophical speculation into scientifically established fact: life is, or has been possible, under certain conditions that might not be all that unusual, in other worlds, perhaps throughout the Universe. Because, so far, we know of only one such place, and if you look around wherever you may be right now, you’ll see it. It will also help us understand how it is possible for life to appear anywhere at all.

          Besides, such expensive undertakings as those of exploring other planets will also have other goals, including understanding better the nature, origins, evolution and possible final destiny of the Solar System and of our own Earth along with it.

          But, more recently and I hope even more so in the not too distant future, the missions to other worlds will be also meant to search for valuable metals and other natural resources in them that are rare on Earth, adding a much needed profit motive to the exploration of outer space. Governments will continue to fund, for many years to come, much of the hardware development, both directly and indirectly with grants to private companies (as practically is the case now, however the deals may be called), as well as sharing the inventions of their scientists and engineers, that is to say their know-how, with such companies, while still making much of the basic engineering work and also building their own spacecraft to continue sending forth their own missions. But if something like a real human civilization will ever come to be elsewhere in the Solar System, there will have to be money to be made (and plenty of it, to cover the very great costs necessary and still end in the black and with a good profit to show for it) in order to motivate enough people to do what may be necessary for that. This has been always the way, unless one counts people moving out into another (usually into somebody else’s) land, due to a lack of places to live, or at least to live well, or fleeing invading hordes. This is going on now, as you might have noticed, and as to a flight to other planets, well, it also might come to that (except for the hordes, maybe), the way things are going, quite frankly.

          So whatever else motivates those in charge of deciding what to do next in outer space, searching for life elsewhere is generally accepted by many of them as a sufficient reason for considering spending a few tens or even a few hundreds of billions of Dollars, or Euros, or Yuan, or Yen, or Rubles, or Rupees, … to find out what is going on in Mars, or even in itsy bitsy comets. Not to mention to do this also as a demonstration of national superiority and as a matter of national pride.

          Meantime, whatever is Planet X, if it is anything at all, it awaits in the cold outer darkness for us to come by and say “hello.”

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2354838
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        It took the New Horizon Mission nine years to reach Pluto with present day rockets and gravitational assists from a few planets to increase the speed. Taking this long to get to Pluto and even longer to get to the Oort cloud is simply too slow and time consuming.  It was and is, however, a brilliant ongoing endeavor and accomplishment.  Even so, we need to be thinking about how to find inhabitable planets to ease the burden on Earth from an ever increasing, resource depleting, human population.

        Going out to a Planet X even with gravitational assist, could take a very long time, and there’s not a very good chance of finding life on a rogue planet that far out in the deep freeze of deep space.  You mentioned starting mining operations on asteroids, moons, and planets. I think this is an excellent idea, and I’ve been waiting to hear that this is being considered. As you said, the rewards of finding large quantities of “rare earth” elements would help offset the cost.

      • #2354846
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Our own Moon is another world, a pretty big one at that and with nasty enough conditions on its surface to be a good place where to learn how to live and work anywhere else than Earth, in places people are not supposed to last more than a few agonizing minutes without more protective equipment than deep-sea divers on the sea-floor need to stay alive and do something useful while at it.

        But never fear, whatever valuable resources the Moon might have, and whatever practical uses being there might make possible to further explorers and miners, there are some interesting places not on it but inside it:
        Possibly enormous lava tubes, formed when the original vast molten lava seas that covered the Maria, the huge dark surfaces easily seen on it with the naked eye or with a small telescope, started to freeze into solid rock and pockets of molted lava high up emptied to lower places creating the tubes as it solidified, leaving vast caverns with mostly flat floors. Those also exist in Mars due to its intensely volcanic past.
        Because of the lower gravity of both the Moon and Mars, the caverns can be much bigger than their counterparts on Earth, and these can be pretty big to start with.

        The environment on the surface of either world is very unhealthy for tendered-bodied humans, what with the little but lethally fast meteors showering it and the hard cosmic radiation with too little or none of an atmosphere, or of a substantial magnetic field to shield people there from such hazards by stopping or, in the case of energetic cosmic radiation, deflecting their lethal showers.

        Several possible practical uses of this caves have been proposed and are being studied. I myself have been doing some work on detecting and mapping them from space with a highly sensitive instrument capable of measuring from orbit the differences in the gravity field of the Moon on top and around of these caverns as there is less matter there, being empty inside, so the gravity pull is less.

        Among other possible uses of the huge lava tubes:

        Creating a gigantic seed bank, to preserve the otherwise fast disappearing biodiversity of the vegetal kingdom:

        https://apnews.com/article/biodiversity-tucson-arizona-caves-bdc7ee025550cf94d6c2d269954942ab

        “Jekan Thanga, a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and five of his students presented a paper earlier this month on the concept during the international IEEE Aerospace Conference, which was held virtually this year”

        “Natural underground caverns on the moon could be used to store frozen samples of Earth’s species in order to protect biodiversity in the event of global catastrophe, according to a University of Arizona scientist and his students.’

        “There’s nothing like that on planet Earth. There’s nothing as secure,” Thanga said, adding that it serves as “an insurance policy” in the event of global catastrophe.”

        Places where to set up bases protected from hard radiation and micrometeors, and perhaps some day even build cities there:

        https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/19/lunar-cave-discovery-raises-hopes-for-human-colonisation-of-moon

        ” Scientists have fantasized for centuries about humans colonizing the moon. That day may have drawn a little closer after Japan’s space agency said it had discovered an enormous cave beneath the lunar surface that could be turned into an exploration base for astronauts.”

        “The discovery, by Japan’s Selenological and Engineering Explorer (Selene) probe, comes as several countries vie to follow the US in sending manned missions to the moon.

        Using a radar sounder system that can examine underground structures, the orbiter initially found an opening 50 metres wide and 50 metres deep, prompting speculation that there could be a larger hollow. ”

        Some are not shy when speculating about how big future Moon and Mar settlers could go inside those huge caverns:

        “Mars is pockmarked with absolutely massive lava tubes, with ceilings as high as the Empire State Building, new research shows. And the moon hosts even more gargantuan tubes, with heights that dwarf Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and “skylights” as big as football fields.”

        “These yawning, subterranean caverns, which are shielded from punishing solar radiation, could be used as sites for future human bases, scientists argue.”

        https://www.livescience.com/lava-tubes-mars-and-moon-habitable.html

        And I say: I hope so; we shall see. Some day.

        one.use_.for_.a.lunar_.lava_.tube_

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

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        • #2354950
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Japan’s space agency said it had discovered an enormous cave beneath the lunar surface that could be turned into an exploration base for astronauts.”  Using a radar sounder system that can examine underground structures, the orbiter initially found an opening 50 metres wide and 50 metres deep, prompting speculation that there could be a larger hollow. ”

          That sounds good and I certainly wish everyone involved with it the best.  One of the first major things they will have to do in the caves on the Moon and Mars is establish a stable, pressurized Earth type atmosphere of nitrogen, oxygen, and some CO2 for any vegetation. There cannot be any leaks anywhere especially near the surface. Good atmosphere will escape through cracks, and on Mars, CO2 will work its way down because it is heavier than air. Vegetation may be enough to take care of that. The pressurized atmosphere will be a problem mainly on the Moon, and also on Mars.

          Another thought – after several generations are born on and allowed to stay on Mars, we will probably have human “Martians” that are easily 7 foot tall, maybe more, with less bone and muscle mass due to the lower gravity.

          • #2354978
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Charlie: “Another thought – after several generations are born on and allowed to stay on Mars, we will probably have human “Martians” that are easily 7 foot tall, maybe more, with less bone and muscle mass due to the lower gravity.”

            While the title of this thread that I made up myself is about “Planet X”, it is fair to say that one can say only so much about a hypothetical thing nobody has ever seen hide or hair of. So the more general and, I would think, interesting question of: Whence humanity in the ages to come? is a good one to discuss here as well, both its near-term possible answers, and its much longer term vistas we can only glimpse at today.

            The idea of humanity splitting into a variety of sub-species when inhabiting for generations very different environments from those in their original world, our own Earth, has been long a topic of some of the best science fiction, that is to say in works that truly belong to the literature of ideas.

            So, unless people in the 24th Century, besides warp drives and galactic empires and federations and replicators and Klingons and Klingon Birds-of-Prey and cloaking devices, also have a way of generating artificial gravity without moving parts, Martians will be tall and slender, Lunars (inhabitants of the Moon) will be even more so, and neither will be able to walk on Mother Earth without the assistance of some pretty ingenious motorized exoskeletons. And if people managed to live and thrive, somehow, on the solid hydrogen surface of Jupiter, after enough generations have passed, they will be really really short.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2355160
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        IMO it’s not a good idea for human beings to stay in no gravity (weightless) or low gravity (our Moon) for more than the astronauts on the ISS do.  I think it will be a very long time before we have artificial gravity like in Star Trek, so we will have to rely on centrifugal force to create an artificial gravity on spaceships traveling long distances.  This was demonstrated very well in the movie “2001 a Space Odyssey” on both the circular spinning space station and the spaceship that was traveling to Jupiter.  Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick did an excellent job on this.

      • #2355185
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Actually in low gravity on the Moon, Mars or any of the large Galilean ones and Titan, the lower gravity can be compensated, from the point of view of reducing their negative effects on  muscles, sinews and bones and making possible much longer stays there, by carrying weights on suits and, or shoes for sufficiently long periods of time every day.

        While evolution, over many generations, might bring about actual bodily adaptations, people will be able to live and work on those strange and life-unfriendly places well enough for a long time even without such physical changes. We can adapt not just physically, like other creatures, but culturally. This has been discused in such works of science fiction as the “Red Green, Blue, Mars” trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, for example.  And it is starting to happen right now, here on Earth, in places such as vulnerable ocean islands and in continental countries such as The Netherlands, trying to deal with the inexorably rising sea levels around the world. Others are started to awaken, elsewhere, to the need to take effective practical action and soon. For example, here in the Eastern USA, the mean sea level is going up faster than anywhere else in the world, as shown by scientific work using data from altimeters flown on satellites continuously and for many years now; ongoing work I am also part of and have been for almost half a century, since even before the very first of those satellites went into orbit, working at first on this mission’s preparation. So I would expect that, soon, those state governments traditionally friendly to housing-estate developers wanting to build more and more along the seaboard, are going to have to move from making noises to actually doing something to stop the inane rush to build beach houses and apartment buildings, practically whole long cities of them, right next to the beach, along the slowly but unstoppably rising sea, for example.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2355466
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          I agree that there are ways to adapt.

          I would expect that, soon, those state governments traditionally friendly to housing-estate developers wanting to build more and more along the seaboard, are going to have to move from making noises to actually doing something to stop the inane rush to build beach houses and apartment buildings, practically whole long cities of them, right next to the beach

          I’ve been hoping for many years that the inane development would stop along all water front land.  It may be slowing down a bit because of the increase in number and destructive power of hurricanes, etc., but it never completely stops.

          • This reply was modified 6 days, 10 hours ago by Charlie.
      • #2355503
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Some more on the question of “is there life in other worlds”? But also now on the next question that follows: how to find it, if it is out there?

        The search for signs of life in planets of star systems other than our on, started in the 1990’s with the discovery of the first such system: a very strange one, with planets orbiting a neutron star.
        Since then, planets around normal stars have been found in rapidly increasing numbers, now in the thousands, and some of them show faint indications that they might be habitable.
        Crucial to these findings have been the optical observatories with major telescopes that have come on line in the last two decades and also some of the space telescopes.

        The next major space telescope to be sent into space by NASA, and the successor to the Hubble, is the James Webb telescope, named after the first NASA Administrator, who helped pioneer many major developments in space exploration and in the scientific use of spacecraft data. It is, same as the Hubble, a reflector telescope, but the gold-plated mirror is 6.5 meters across, so a shade short of three times larger than the Hubble’s 2.4 meters mirror.
        Because, unlike the Hubble, the Webb will be able to “see” light from orange to mid-infrared, it should be possible to observe with it objects much farther away and, therefore, much closer to the time of the Big Bang, as their light wavelengths have been stretched by the expansion of the universe, over more than 13 billion years, to those longer than the near-infrared that is the limit of the light the Hubble can detect.

        Being primarily an infrared telescope, it has to be kept very cold, to avoid its own heat from corrupting the data. This will be achieved using an ingenious cooling system that can work for much longer, prolonging the spacecraft life also for much longer than those of the liquid-helium cooled ones built and deployed so far, as their helium evaporates and eventually runs out.
        It will also be capable of detecting water and molecules such as those of oxygen, CO2 and methane, that when found together, are important signs of possible life, at least of the kind we can find here on Earth. These, complemented with the capacity to determine if a planet around a distant star has an atmosphere holds the promise of finding planets, perhaps many, with potential life on them.

        When it reaches its destination, the telescope will orbit at some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, beyond the orbit of the Moon, at the L2 Lagrange point, that is situated on the same line as the centers of the Earth and the Sun, so it is going around the Sun, together with the Earth, once per year.

        Started in 1996 and after 25 years of delays, cost overruns, for a total of some 10 billion dollars, it is expected to launch atop a rocket later this year, 2021, on the 31st of October:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Webb_Space_Telescope

        How Well Can the Webb Telescope Detect Signs of Exoplanet Life?

        At the same time, already making observations since 2013 and with an expect useful life to last until at least 2022, the European Space Agency (ESA) has in operation GAIA, a spacecraft designed to find many more stars and galaxies than are known so far and, through the observation of their occultations (when a planet passing between the observer and its star causes the light of the star to dim noticeably) it is expected to find many more planets and also detect the atmospheres of those that have them, at least in some cases.

        https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Gaia_overview

        Gaia is also positioned, as will the Webb, at the L2 Lagrange point. Actually not just at one and the same geometrical point, but with both in a region around the theoretical point where the combined gravitational pulls of the Sun and the Earth on the spacecraft is stronger than it would be that of the Sun’s alone, so it is the same as that of the Sun on the Earth, hence anything there will orbit the Sun right along with the Earth and at a constant distance from it, which is convenient for communicating and sending commands from the mission’s control center and for downloading telemetry and the the data of its observations from it. This means that each telescope will be able to keep pointing, and gathering light, from the same objects for much longer than the Hubble, that makes a complete turn around the Earth every hour and a half. Both Webb and Gaia will also look constantly away from the Sun, their heat shields always facing it, so their observations will not be affected by the Earth or the Moon’s eclipses of the Sun.

        https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/754/what-is-a-lagrange-point/

         

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

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        • #2355510
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Well, something went less than very well with the link to the EOS article ( published by the American Geophysical Union) that turned out to be one of those big “picture” ones I had no time to fix by turning it into a one-line brown one, before running out of editing time. (The link to the EOS article is in the main title, at the top of the picture) Also I did not get in the middle of the text  the picture showing the mirrors of the Hubble and Web telescopes for comparison. But one can still see it in all its glory by clicking either of the two (???) little ones at the bottom of the previous comment.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

          • #2355535
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Further on the weird EOS link: After some browser-experimenting, I’ve discovered that the problem with the EOS article’s link only happens with Waterfox and Firefox, both closely related browsers, but it is OK with Chrome.  In fact, with Waterfox “Classic”, latest version (a browser I most often use) the “picture” link does not actually even work, although it does with FF.

            Now, back to something more interesting.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2355897
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        . Even so, we need to be thinking about how to find inhabitable planets to ease the burden on Earth from an ever increasing, resource depleting, human population.

        That would be a near impossibility. How would we ever get millions of people out of our gravity well and safely to another planet? Even with one of those cables like the Mars trilogy Oscar mentioned (excellent books BTW). Like superyachts for the very very rich. And the crew and those desperate enough to accept what ever the corporations funding them wants them to accept will be there. With a very hierarchical and well controlled society at first.

        While evolution, over many generations, might bring about actual bodily adaptations, people will be able to live and work on those strange and life-unfriendly places well enough for a long time even without such physical changes.

        Evolution ? Crispr is only the beginning. Colonists will be modified to suit.
        The future will continue to be an ‘interesting time’.
        Of course ours is too.

        🚀😁

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 14 hours ago by wavy.
      • #2355956
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Wavy: “How would we ever get millions of people out of our gravity well and safely to another planet?

        Short answer: we never shall.

        Longer answer: People, even in the 23rd century, while they will have Galaxy-Class starships to go visit, or to fight with those from other worlds across most of the our galaxy (except for one quadrant), nevertheless shan’t have any plans to move the inhabitants of, for example, San Francisco, where the Federation headquarters will be based, to some other nice and still only lightly inhabited planets. So people, to even get to that kind of 23rd Century, will have to take care better of the present real state and see to fix the mess we are making of it. Or else there won’t be any of that two or three centuries hence.

        But a big migration to elsewhere is not the same as gradually, through exploration and what is learned in the course of it, figuring out how to live and then start new societies that can prosper in other worlds of our own Solar System, however unpromising these worlds might look to us now. Which is just possible, with a lot of hard work, good planning and sacrifice, and, in my opinion, also the best thing to do.

        As to using the CRISPR technique to create enhanced humans that can live in other worlds unsalubrious to plain old-model humans:

        https://www.synthego.com/blog/crispr-movies-tv

        And also some news about KSR:

        https://www.wired.com/story/kim-stanley-robinson-red-moon/

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2356032
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        they will have Galaxy-Class starships to go visit other worlds across most of the our galaxy

        Are you suggesting they will have worked out how to bypass the laws of physics to get there?

        cheers, Paul

        • #2356092
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          No, just joking.

          But who knows.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2356041
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        So people, to even get to that kind of 23rd Century, will have to take care better of the present real state and see to fix the mess we are making of it. Or else there won’t be any of that two or three centuries hence.

        There is no way that 20 Billion people will manage to live in the 23rd Century, take care of environment, manage to feed everyone, live in peace…

        • This reply was modified 3 days, 21 hours ago by Alex5723.
        • #2356074
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          There is no way that 20 Billion people will manage to live in the 23rd Century, take care of environment, manage to feed everyone, live in peace…

          I agree.  Personally, unless something miraculous happens soon, I don’t see humankind managing to survive very far into the 21st century.  Sorry, but what I’m seeing presently does not bode well for the survival of humans.

      • #2356086
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I very much doubt that there will be 20 billion humans on Earth in a couple of centuries from now, or even the current eight billion. Whether this comes by voluntary reduction of the population, or by war, famine, Nature taking steps to keep things manageable whether people like it or not, I don’t see us ever getting there in population.

        However, what I really like to do here is to look at possibilities, assuming we’ll muddle through to a situation where there will be still enough people, with enough technological means at their disposal and the determination to go forth and and populate other worlds in the Solar System. Also about the astronomical mysteries awaiting for resolution: Planet X being one of several.

        Leaving out things that are suspected rather than known for a fact, such as dark matter and dark energy (those are topics for a different discussion, on cosmology), how about rocks from other star systems shooting through ours and close enough to the Sun to be also close to us as they speed through in and out of the Solar System?

        I was reading in a recent issue of “New Scientist” (delayed on its way from the UK by a couple of issues already, thanks to the COVID mail slow-down, among other reasons) that some astronomers have calculated that there may be close to seven of those shooting by every year, and some might be coming from planetary systems outside of our own galaxy, if their speeds are high enough to not be gravitationaly bound to our Milky Way (more than 530 kilometers per second; if coming from our own, instead, up to no more than around 100 km/s).

        Two such alien objects have been spotted already: the asteroid Oumuamua, in 2017 and the comet Borisov, in 2019. And that without looking for such objects, but found by sheer luck.

        https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2021/03/15/seven-alien-space-rocks-may-pass-through-our-solar-system-every-year-and-we-need-to-intercept-one/?sh=2d7d01145576

         

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        • #2356107
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Thank you Oscar for being an optimist. This world certainly needs many optimists to pull pessimists like me out of our negativity.  A natural, non-man-made object traveling through space at roughly half the speed of light is encouraging. It makes one wonder what force threw it that fast.  Dark matter and dark energy are also very worthy things to get acquainted with, and we should make every effort to do so!

      • #2356111
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        nevertheless shan’t have any plans to move the inhabitants of, for example, San Francisco,

        This now reminds me of a series I read as a teenager; the James Blish Cities in Flight books. There in whole cities lift themselves of of Earth into space when they get tired of the same ol same bs on Earth.

        Such a thing would force a big revision in the text books

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2356137
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Paul_T made this comment and asked a good question:

        they will have Galaxy-Class starships to go visit other worlds across most of the our galaxy

        Are you suggesting they will have worked out how to bypass the laws of physics to get there?

        My answer:

        No, just joking. But who knows.

         

        Well, maybe someone does know.

        And knows how to do it without bypassing the laws of physics — as far as anyone can tell:

        There are some solutions of Einstein’s General Relativity differential equations that allow, in theory, to travel from A to B faster than light, and so “at warp speed.”

        The idea is that, according to General Relativity, portions of space itself can travel faster than light relative to the rest of the Cosmos: bubbles of space can go faster. The speed of light is the limit in flat space-time, where Special Relativity applies. A bubble will be a manifestation of curved space-time.

        If there is a starship within such a bubble (with its crew, passengers and the machinery needed to create the bubble (dilithium-crystals based?) this ship will move along with the bubble, but inside the bubble its speed will be what is needed only to maneuver around, therefore insignificant compared to the speed of light. Insignificant relative to the interior of the bubble, that is, this interior being all the space that matters from the point of view of the ship and those traveling inside it.

        One approach is the Alcubierre drive:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

        Another, more recent one, is a different kind of drive that uses the same basic principle of creating a space bubble, but by different, more feasible means:

        https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a35820869/warp-drive-possible-with-conventional-physics/

        “Feasible” is used here only in a relative sense: this new drive needs smaller amounts of immense quantities of energy than the Alcubierre one; but smaller quantities of something immense can still be pretty immense and, in this case, it is.

        So, as I wrote further up in this comment, these are hypothetical solutions to faster-than-light travel. But, nevertheless, are based on the best science available — which is better than nothing.

        Give scientists another two centuries, and who knows what they’ll come up with.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2356272
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Here you go Oscar and all interested parties –

          A new experiment has broken the known rules of physics, hinting at a mysterious, unknown force that has shaped our universe.

          https://www.businessinsider.com/muon-experiment-physics-hidden-force-universe-2021-4

          I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy reading about this.  Maybe we won’t have to wait for another two centuries.

          • #2356318
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Charlie: “A new experiment has broken the known rules of physics, hinting at a mysterious, unknown force that has shaped our universe.”

            Well, those rules have been known for quite a long time to be not the whole story. The problem here is not just that, but that many attempts to figure out what is wrong and, or missing have turned nothing interesting so far. Mostly they have disproven some of the proposed ways of extending the current foundations of physics to build a better set of theories that explain more of what is observed, including those funny spinning muons (which it turns out they had already been noticed to do that twenty years ago, but with less precise measurements, so people saw it and said: “Yes, funny that. Maybe someone (else) should look into it.”

            According to these reliable sources, the current situation is as follows:

            Business Insider article:

            Theorists would find it [the evidence for maybe a new fundamental force from the Fermilab experiment] appealing to solve more than one problem at once,” Teubner said.

            One hypothesis that could apply to both muons and dark matter, he added, is that muons and all other particles have almost identical partner particles that weakly interact with them. This concept is known as supersymmetry.”

            But Fermilab’s existing technologies aren’t sensitive enough to test that idea. Plus, Teubner added, it’s could be the case that the mysterious influence on muons isn’t linked to dark matter at all — which would mean the rules of physics are inadequate in more ways than one.

            Wkipedia:

            There is no experimental evidence that supersymmetry is correct, or whether or not other extensions to current models might be more accurate. It is only since around 2010 that particle accelerators specifically designed to study physics beyond the Standard Model have become operational (i.e. the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and it is not known where exactly to look, nor the energies required for a successful search.

            The main reasons for supersymmetry being supported by some physicists is that the current theories are known to be incomplete and their limitations are well established, and supersymmetry could be an attractive solution to some of the major concerns.

            Angel (vampire&nicest boyfriend of Buffy, the VS, who got a series of its own and lovely and self-infatuated Cordelia along with it):

            Supersymmetry can be used by villains to kill people:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersymmetry_(Angel)

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

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